Creative Live Course Review: Inside The Glamour Studio with Sue Bryce

Alternative Model Alexa Poletti, Photographed by Blacksburg, Virginia Portrait Photographer, Holly Cromer
Alternative Model Alexa Poletti, Photographed by Blacksburg, Virginia Portrait Photographer, Holly Cromer

Creative Live Course Review: Inside The Glamour Studio with Sue Bryce… Furthering your Portrait Photography Business Exponentially Through Streaming Online Workshops

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The best thing to invest in as an entrepreneur is education.  I am eternally grateful that I found Creative Live years ago, without the lessons that I learned through the courses on their website, I would not be the photographer that I am today.  When I started my business, I had NO idea what I was doing – my communication skills were garbage, I had no idea how to pose people, I did not know what to put in my contracts, and where the hell was I supposed to find clients?  I reached out to local photographers, but was unable to find someone to take me under their wing.  Thankfully after a couple years of trying to navigate the photography business waters blindfolded, I found Creative Live and started streaming their live courses every chance I could sneakily watch them at my day job.  I loved some of the courses so much that I purchased them so I could stream them on demand as a refresher.  In a series of blog posts, I’m going to tell you about these courses because they might be extremely helpful to you as well!

Inside The Glamour Studio with Sue Bryce was both how I found Creative Live and the first course that I purchased through the site.  This was the crash course in posing women that I never knew that I needed, Sue will blow your mind busting out 100 poses in an hour – this helped me go from providing final galleries to clients that had 30ish images with extremely similar poses (not necessarily flattering either), to delivering exponentially more images that were actually flattering and more unique images. 

The business and marketing portion of Inside The Glamour Studio blew my mind.  At that point, I was pretty sure that the only “marketing” I needed to do was to post one or two pictures on Facebook from each session.  My strategy was not bringing in any business, obviously, because it wasn’t really marketing at all.  I just threw it out there and walked away.  Sue helped determine what the best forms of advertising could be for my business and helped me build up my confidence enough to approach strangers that I would like to photograph – this is an extra huge feat for me because I have severe anxiety.  A portion of this course covers video fusion using Animoto to turn your still images and video clips into a gorgeous video without needing any video editing experience – this is an even better way to market your business now than it was when I purchased the course so I’m planning on revisiting this portion of the course and hopefully implementing it. 

There’s truly so much course content that it has to be revisited over and over to get the most out of it.  If I haven’t had a photo session in a few days and I’m just not feeling confident before a one on one shoot for some reason, I watch one of the videos from this course.  It helps me remember how important it is to bringing your A-game, be communicating with the client throughout the entire shoot, and a quick reminder of flattering poses to try.  I bought this course in 2012 and still reference it.  Loads of information and a lot of videos where you get to watch her work which was what I found the most helpful from the very beginning.  I paid shortly over $100 for Inside The Glamour Studio and it paid for itself after just a couple of photo sessions.  One of the best investments that I have made in my business and myself. 

Did I mention that Sue is from New Zealand so you get to enjoy that yummy accent throughout the whole thing?  Or that all of the images that are contained in this blog post were photographed using the information that I learned from her?

Creative Live offers a whole slew of amazing courses for creative entrepreneurs from photography and video, to art and music, selling on Etsy, as well as money and life planning.  I’m a very visual person so I never got into podcasts, Creative Live is like my version of podcasts with the bonus of visuals to help keep my attention.  You should absolutely check them out, I’ve been in love for years and I will for sure be sticking with them as long as they are around.  Check them out ASAP!

Alternative Model Rachel Dashae, Photographed by Blacksburg, Virginia Portrait Photographer, Holly Cromer

Rachel + Tyler's Johnson City, Tennessee Wedding

The Gallery Johnson City Wedding Reception

I had the honor of second shooting Rachel [of Rachel’s Rendition on YouTube] and Tyler’s wedding last year with Rachel Wells.  This was my first time photographing a wedding in a catholic church so I had butterflies in my stomach as I drove down to Bristol, Virginia on the interstate in pouring rain.  Thankfully it ended up being painless, not a single church lady fussed at me! 

Their ceremony was held in Johnson City, Tennessee – visiting there was yet another first for me and I kind of fell in love and am dying to go back for another look.  The reception location was called The Gallery – a former industrial space that has been adapted into a beautiful loft with a fireplace, exposed brick, exposed beams, hardwood floors, and chandeliers.  If you know me well, you know that I have grand dreams of having an industrial space reconfigured as a venue space one day so needless to say, I was in heaven.  I love the aesthetic of this wedding, it was so dreamy!  The soft colors, the candlelight from beautiful vintage candelabras juxtaposed with modern glass candelabras.  Truly stunning.

Johnson City, Tennessee Wedding Photography: Holly Cromer
Wedding Dress: Allure Bridals, purchased at Bridals by Lori in Atlanta, Georgia [aka home of “Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta”]
Wedding Invitations: Zazzle
Wedding Reception Venue: The Gallery, Johnson City, Tennessee

Where to Have Your Photos Printed | Advice from Your Friendly Photographer

Where to Have Your Photos Printed | Advice from Your Friendly Photographer

Please, Please, Please Tell Me You Print Your Photos...  If you are guilty of letting them sit on your hard drive and never hanging them on the walls of your home, I am hoping to motivate you into having some of your favorites printed so they can be enjoyed by you and your family.  Check out this piece from Design Aglow about How Family Portraits Boost Your Child’s Self-Esteem.  Below are some of my favorite places to have my photos printed (in addition to ProDPI which is my go-to professional lab).

Photo Books, Albums, and Ready to Hang Photo Art
Artifact Uprising offers a pretty wide selection of unique ways to print your photographs.  Best of all, most of their products are ready to be displayed immediately in your home, no need to order frames.  Their acrylic float frames are my newest obsession, you can have your photo printed on a wooden box, and their photo books have a custom dust jacket and remind me of being in a library.  Artifact Uprising uses recycled materials and reclaimed wood to create their environmentally friendly products.  Their designs are a beautiful and minimalistic way to display your photos throughout your home.

Holiday Cards and Wedding Invitations
If you want to have highly personalized holiday cards or wedding invitations, my go-to is Minted.  Their selection of card designs is unbelievable.  The designs are submitted by independent artists and curated through competitions.  They have a lot of different card options with a gorgeous gold foil, if you like shiny things as much as me.

Traditional Photo Prints
When it comes to regular photo prints that I want to order a larger quantity of, I always order from AdoramaPix.  I have been a customer of theirs for years.  The print quality is wonderful, the customer service is superior, prints are affordable, and shipping is free on orders over $49.  I order my prints on their matte paper with a white boarder because something about that little white border makes it feel extra special.

Business Cards
Moo Cards are my favorite, you can have a different photo on every single card if you want. Moo cards are a creative entrepreneur/photographer's dream because you are carrying around a mini printed portfolio with you wherever you go.  You can share your best work any time your business comes up in conversation, which will be a long conversation because they'll be wowed by your business cards.  Added perk: if someone takes a card with an image they personally selected, it is a lot less likely to be thrown in the trash.

Take Some Action

  1. I'm always looking for new fun ways to have photos printed and displayed, if you have any hidden gems, please share them in the comments below.
  2. Share with one of your friends who never prints their photos.
  3. Go order some beautiful prints of your photos for your home!

Blacksburg Family Photographer

Smithfield Plantation at Virginia Tech provided the perfect colorful backdrop for these gorgeous fall family photos.  There is something so special about the families that I get to work with over and over again.  Watching their little kiddos grow before my eyes makes my heart happy.  I met Renee and Jason a couple of years ago when we got together for maternity photos, and then in no time we took little L’s 6 month photos and then little L’s first birthday.  It all happens in the blink of an eye.

George + Reanna | Blacksburg, Virginia Proposal and Engagement Photographer

It isn’t every day that I get to photograph a proposal [but I wish it was]…  George set up a sweet fall photo shoot for himself and his girlfriend Reanna.  As we meandered our way around the Duck Pond at Virginia Tech, George dropped down on one knee and asked her to be his wife.  Her expression and reaction were so priceless that I got majorly teary eyed behind the camera.  They are such an adorable couple and it was an honor to be there to capture such an exciting moment for them on such a beautiful autumn day.

Natalee | Virginia Tech Senior Portrait and Graduation Photographer

I met Natalee a few years ago through mutual friends on social media.  If she looks familiar, you may have seen her giving her family a heart attack when I had her model wedding gowns for faux bridal portraits a few years ago [one of those photos are printed on my business cards still to this very day]!  We got together for some Virginia Tech graduation photos last fall when she was wrapping up her work on her bachelor’s degree.  Natalee and her beautiful yellow lab, Mia took a grand tour of Virginia Tech’s campus with me hitting all kinds of hot spots from Hahn Horticulture Garden, the Duck Pond, the Pylons, to Burruss Hall.  We wrapped it up by enjoying a couple of Pumpkin Spiced Lattes from Starbucks on top of the Kent Square parking garage, Mia loves that PSL almost as much as me!

Madison | Giles High School Senior Portrait Photographer

I am so in love with how Madison’s beautiful fall senior portraits turned out!  Madison was a senior at Giles High School when we took these photos last year and I am kind of embarrassed that I am now a full on year behind on blogging.  She and her mother took me to places in Giles that I had never been to before, stunning hidden treasures that I will never, ever reveal to you no matter how much you try to bribe me.  When we drove by this field of incredible tall grass, I knew we just HAD to come back and revisit that location.  The property owners were kind and welcomed us over to play in their yard.  We wrapped up at Cascades Falls where, despite Madison and her mother’s warning me to watch my step, I slipped down into the water up to my neck [I kept the camera above water, don’t worry, I have my priorities straight].  We had carpooled in their vehicle so I am extra thankful that they didn’t leave my swampy bottom behind when we were done.

Kimberly + Jon's Heritage Park Wedding | Blacksburg, Virginia Wedding Photographer

Kimberly and Jon’s wedding took place on a very rainy autumn day at Heritage Park in Blacksburg.  Fortune favored them and the rain stopped for the perfect amount of time that we were together on their wedding day, their officiant and groomsmen were ushering away puddles of standing water when I arrived.  After the couple’s very sweet first look, we headed to Virginia Tech to take care of their formal photos before the ceremony.  Their adorable daughter Raelyn was the flower girl who stole the show, as beautiful little girls tend to do.  Kimberly wrapped a charm into the handle of her bouquet that had her grandmother on one side, and her great aunt on the other side.  A section of their ceremony seating was reserved to commemorate their loved ones that have passed.  The music for their recessional was courtesy of Guns ‘n Roses, a surprise for the parents and grandparents.

Wedding Vendor Team
Blacksburg, Virginia Wedding Photographer: Holly Cromer
Venue: Heritage Park
Wedding Gown: DB Studio, David’s Bridal
Officiant: Christopher Birkl, Lynchburg, Virginia
Jeweler: Henebry Jewelers, Danville, Virginia
Bridesmaid Dresses: Dark red long strapless dresses from David’s Bridal, Greensboro, North Carolina

Jancis + Jamie's Flat Top Lake Wedding | West Virginia Wedding Photography

Jamie and Jancis met in nursing school.  Their first conversation was about the hit television show Gossip Girl, they quickly became classmate friends.  As they soon discovered, they had numerous shared interests – between WVU tailgates and studying together for endless hours, they were always side by side.  Jamie proposed last spring by setting up an Easter egg hunt which had a surprise proposal as the final prize!

Last year I had the opportunity to go up to Flat Top Lake to check out their wedding venue for the first time and take some engagement photos for this gorgeous, sweet couple.  It was so nice to be back there again, the refreshing breeze across the lake and the canopy of trees provided us with a cool reprieve from the summer sun.  We returned to the dock of Jamie’s family boat house for their first look where I found Jamie getting a little teary eyed before he even laid eyes on his beautiful bride.  Jamie and Jancis are absolutely made for each other, the tears of happiness were streaming all day – from them, to their families, to my muffled sniffles from behind the camera, they’re just so damn cute!

For Jancis’ “something borrowed,” she wore the pearl necklace that her mother wore on her wedding day as well as her mother’s diamond earrings.  For her “something new,” she wore a beautiful lace BHLDN bracelet that her mother bought her.  Her “something blue” was a garter crocheted by her sister (who also made the bride’s beautiful birdcage veil).  Their “something old” was their cake server which was from the bride’s parent’s wedding.  A couple more sentimental details that Jancis pulled into her wedding day was wearing her grandmother’s watch and her grandfather’s class ring which was tied to the handle of her bouquet.

I was slightly obsessed with Jancis and Jamie’s wedding reception décor – wooden farm style dining tables with Chiavari chairs, mix and match china at each place setting, pieces of vintage furniture, and tons of flowers, greenery, and succulents.  Speaking of beautiful woodwork, check out the wedding altar that the bride’s father built and the gorgeous garland on it handmade by the bride’s mother, what a talented family!

The sweet ceremony (where I cried some more happiness tears) was followed by a killer celebration.  We dined on amazing food from Pumpernickel Pickle, which I devoured before I even had a chance to photograph it.  Guests enjoyed dancing their butts off to some really great tunes courtesy of Top Notch Events.  I tried my first “West Virginia hot dog” which is a pastry kind of like an éclair from Spring Hill Bakery and it was INCREDIBLE, highly recommend.  By the end of the night we were all wearing a lifetime supply of glow sticks, we ventured out to an open field for their send-off of fireworks and a paper lantern release.

Wedding Vendor Team
Virginia Wedding Photographer: Holly Cromer
Wedding Venue: Flat Top Lake, Ghent, West Virginia
Wedding Dress: BHLDN, Washington, DC
Florist: Bride’s Mother, Natalie Durney
Officiant: Judge Joanna Tabit, Charleston, WV; Deacon Raymond Godwin, Elkins, WV
Hair: Kaylee Graves, Innovations Salon and Day Spa, Blacksburg, VA
Makeup: Kearston French, Bluefield, VA
Wedding Cake: Bride’s Mother, Natalie Durney
Pastries: Spring Hill Bakery, Charleston, WV and Jennah Durney, Bride’s Sister
Caterer: Pumpernickel Pickle, Salem, VA
Wedding Planner: Andrea Ferris, Roanoke, VA
Bride’s Wedding Band and Engagement Ring: John Cooke Jeweler’s, Charleston, WV
Groom’s Wedding Band: His late grandfather’s
Ceremony Music and Wedding Favors: Daryl Shawn, Pittsburgh, PA
DJ: Top Notch Events, Charleston, WV
Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal, Pittsburgh, PA
Bridesmaid's Jewelry: Appalachique Jewelry by Aubrey Hostler
Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Joesph A Banks, Morgantown, WV
Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas
Transportation: Classy Limousine, Ashland, KY
Table Numbers: Carolyn Etherington
Table and Tent Rentals: Aztec Rental, Salem, VA
Beer: Big Timber Brewing, Elkins, WV
Restroom Trailer Rental: Tidy Inc, Salem, VA

Check out Jancis + Jamie's Flat Top Lake Engagement Photos too!

Joe + Mariëtte's Wedding at Hahn Horticulture Garden at Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech Wedding Photos

Joe and Mariëtte’s story began at Virginia Tech during the spring semester of 2012 when she was a sophomore and he was a senior.  They were in the same honors reading group that semester and decided to stay in touch after the course ended.  Frequent coffees and walks helped their friendship develop into a deeper relationship as they both moved on to complete graduate degrees.  Joe asked Mariëtte for her hand in marriage amidst falling snow at the top of a mountain while they were on a walk.  Post-wedding they’ll be living in Seattle, Washington and I’m absolutely green with envy, they might find me hiding in a box when they unpack their Uhaul!

Joe and Mariëtte’s wedding ceremony took place at the Hahn Horticulture Garden at Virginia Tech.  There were a couple of wedding crashers in attendance – two mallard ducks that wandered throughout the wedding party and then down the center aisle, which added an extra touch of whimsy to their garden nuptials.  Mariëtte wore a Casablanca Bridal gown purchased from Chantilly Lace Bridals in Blacksburg, Virginia and a beautiful custom purple, white, and blue flower crown made by Stonecrop Farms.  Her bouquet, also from Stonecrop Farms, was made up of snapdragons, delphinium, and rudbeckia [aka Black Eyed Susans] Joe picked up his blue suit from Suitsupply in Seattle, Washington and the bridesmaids dresses are by Paul Jones Clothing.  Their local pastor, Pastor Taylor Rollo of Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church performed the ceremony as Kevin and Elizabeth Matheson from Classic Strings Duo provided music.  At the reception, one of our mallard friends decided to crash again briefly.  The meal was catered by The Element at Mikie's 7th and was absolutely amazing [I was hungry when I wrote this blog post, hence the inclusion of tons of food photos] – grilled flank steak with Greek cucumber sauce was my favorite, but truly all of it was delicious.  Joe and Mariëtte dreamed of a wedding day where they could simply enjoy themselves, a stress free event filled with happiness, and that is exactly how it went.

Blacksburg Wedding Vendor Team
Virginia Wedding Photographer: Holly Cromer, assisted by Jared Ladia
Wedding Venue: Hahn Horticulture Garden
Wedding Dress: Casablanca Bridal from Chantilly Lace Bridals
Groom's Attire: Suitsupply, Seattle, Washington
Florist: Stonecrop Farm
Officiant: Pastor Taylor Rollo of Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church
Caterer: The Element at Mikie's 7th
Engagement Ring: Goodman & Sons Jewelers, Hampton, VA
Wedding Rings: Robbins Brothers, Seattle, Washington
Violin Duo: Kevin and Elizabeth Matheson, Classic Strings Duo
Bridesmaid Dresses: Paul Jones Clothing
Invitations: InkAndVeil, California City, CA
Rentals: Aztec Rental